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News & Views from the RTBU NSW Locomotive Division

What about public transport? Infrastructure NSW releases its 20-year plan

Oct 3, 2012News

Infrastructure NSW has released its 20-year plan for the future of the state’s infrastructure, recommending 70 projects, many of which are transport focused.

If implemented, the projects would cost the State Government $30 billion over 20 years, however Infrastructure Australia says it would add $50 billion to the state’s economy.

The key transport recommendations from the report include a 33km extension of the M4 to the airport; building an underground Bus Rapid Transport system in the Sydney CBD; and building another M5 east tunnel.

Loco Division Secretary Bob Hayden said the report’s strong focus on roads rather than on public transport is short-sighted.

“With a few exceptions, Infrastructure NSW has basically just released a plan for our transport infrastructure focused entirely on roads. Public transport has been pushed aside,” Bob Hayden said.

“The second harbour crossing has been overlooked in favour of more tollways. It seems Infrastructure NSW is completely out of step with the wishes of the public who we know rate public transport improvements as their priority transport concern – not roads.

However Bob Hayden said the report does contain some good recommendations, including creating an express rail service between Gosford and Sydney and fixing tracks and bridges in regional NSW.

“Let’s hope the Premier can pick out the parts of this report, along with recommendations from other sources, that really need to be prioritised and commit to delivering what is truly needed in NSW – a world-class rail and public transport system.

“That’s the answer to reducing congestion, not investment in roads which will only result in more traffic.

“We need a plan that delivers for the people of NSW – not just for the big end of town.”

See the full Infrastructure NSW report here

This article is open for comment.


2 Comments to “What about public transport? Infrastructure NSW releases its 20-year plan”

  • Outside of the fact that the majority of the projects identified are roads, with the notable exception of transforming the Epping to Parramatta rail link with a bus transit-way (what happened to the promised Federal funding for the actual rail link?), the decisions on public transport made by the O’Farrell government up to this point are bewildering at best – we only need to look at the change to the sizes of the Northwest Rail tunnels which will forever prevent this line integrating properly into the rail network.

    Funding also seems to be a big issue – judging by what I was reading in the paper this morning, the majority funding for these road projects will be from the private sector with at least on project (M2 – F3 tunnel) being proposed as a totally privately tolled tunnel.

    I’m all for getting people from point A to point B as quickly and as easily as possible plus I’m happy to pay for the privilege once the work is done, but we have all seen these long term plans quickly disappear soon after elections. What is needed is a bi-partisan approach to ensure that major infrastructure projects like those proposed are actually carried out rather than planned and abandoned when the standing government loses the next election.

  • I’d like to see how the proposed “main line acceleration” project, with goals of 1 hour running from Wollongong and Gosford to the CBD would work. How will they get back to par with previous running times (which the Waterfall inquiry found to be unachievable), let alone make gains, while maintaining politically acceptable on time running and reliability? I’m sure you couldn’t do an hour Wollongong, first stop Central, running on the speed boards, with no suburban or freight trains or speed restrictions factored in.

    Cutting out stops is about all the leeway they have, unless they’re prepared to tank their on time running numbers. I think that’s actually good for us though. If they end up running two trains, a really fast express service, and a second all stations train, instead of just one, that’s more work for us.

    I’m cynically predicting a repeat of some of the claims from the Regional Fast Rail project in Victoria. There they promised some enticing journey times, say an hour from station X to Melbourne. They delivered on it in theory too, one express train a day in the morning peak, while the rest of the trains actually stopped and provided a service to intermediate points, and took an hour twenty or so.

    I guess a lot of the tension in the running time / safety / reliability equation goes away (for the government at least), if they privatise. Then it can not work, but they can blame the franchisee.

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